Stayless trebles

jim phillips jim at p...
Thu May 13 15:46:58 BST 2004

>These stays were deal, not ash. Can anyone tell me why deal is preferred to
ash in such cases?

Cost. The stays at Seasalter are of Parana Pine (Araucaria angustifolia), a
softwood imported in large quantities from South America. The beauty of
Parana Pine is that it is free of knots. A knot in a piece of timber of
this small dimension would be a source of weakness. An order would be
placed with the local timber merchant for a quantity of this material cut to
size and the Parana Pine would be stored on the floor of the belfry. It
would then be cut to the right length when required.
The best Ash is young 'green' or sports ash. As a lad I would be sent out
with my colleagues to look for Ash trees. A suitable tree would be located
and a suitable branch or two removed and cut to size. This should be done
as soon as possible as left in the round Ash will quickly 'shake' (split).
The stays were Hastings which meant an accurate measurement of length. Do
not worry about shrinkage as timber shrinkage occurs in the width but very
little in the length. If your have sliders and curved stays, things are a
little more time consuming but nothing that a wallpaper steamer connected to
a plastic drainpipe wouldn't put right with the use of a couple of cramps.
Ash is a superb timber for steaming and bending. Remember the younger the
Ash the better it will be for stays.

More information about the Bell-historians mailing list